Community rallies behind Greene County
ambulance services (EMS)

In the past four months, since mid-May, the Greene County Emergency Medical Services (GEMS) has made major progress with solid support from the Greene County community.
GEMS has secured funding for two new ambulances; moved to a new office, across from the Greene County Hospital; hired a new director and staff; secured a new billing agency and higher reimbursement rates from Medicare and insurance providers; and with the help of supporters was able to raise its basic operating budget.
At its May 23, 2022, meeting the board selected Chris Jones as its new director and asked the Greene County Commission, City of Eutaw, Towns of Boligee, Union and Forkland, the Sheriff, as well as other agencies and businesses to help save and support the county’s ambulance service.
This meeting was held after the prior director informed the state that the GEMS service was closing, and he resigned. The board wrote the state to rescind his letter and started to rebuild.
Prior to the May board meeting, the Greene County Commission pledged $125,000 in American Recovery Plan Act (ARPA) funds toward acquisition of a new truck engine and chassis to mount and renovate the service’s existing ambulance box. The service secured a loaner ambulance until the newly refurbished ambulance is delivered later this year.
At its September 13, 2022, meeting, the Eutaw City Council approved a contribution of $26,000, of its ARPA funding as matching funds to acquire a second ambulance and stretcher from the Alabama Council on Emergency Medical Services. Joe Lee Powell, Chair of the GEMS Board says, “We will soon have two working ambulances that we need to provide services to the residents and visitors of Greene County.” The Eutaw City Council previously used $62,000 of CARES funds to provide lifesaving equipment to the service.
Chris Jones, GEMS Director, put together a plan asking the Commission and municipalities to help cover the $40,000 monthly payroll of the ambulance service for three months while a new billing agency was brought onboard and up to speed to provide the operating revenues for the system.
The Greene County Commission approved three months of operating support at $18,356 a month – a total of $55,068. The City of Eutaw has provided $36,000 in operating support since the beginning of 2022. The Town of Boligee has contributed $10,000 in support this year, including $1,500 a month, pledged for the three-month period. The Town of Union has also pledged support. Sheriff Benison from bingo funds has contributed $65,000 and pledged $8,500 a month for the three-month special operating fund campaign.
The Greene County Health System has provided a house across the street from the hospital as an office and staging area for the ambulance staff including showers, kitchen and sleeping facilities. The GCHS Board agreed to provide seven months rent at $550 a month, from June through December 2022 as a $3,850 contribution to the ambulance service operating budget.
The Greene County Industrial Development Authority contributed $5,000 towards the ambulance service. Danny Cooper, GCIDA Chair said, “You never know when you will need an ambulance – so we must support our emergency service. We must have a functional ambulance service to assist businesses and industries that may have on-the-job accidents and injuries, needing ambulance services.”
The RockTenn Corporation, owners of the Eutaw box plant have given $5,000 toward the GEMS operating budget and other businesses in the county are expected to follow this example. The services has received other small contributions from individuals.
Dr. Marcia Pugh, vice chairperson of the GEMS board and Hospital CEO, said “We are grateful to the agencies, businesses, and people of the community for coming forward to help us stabilize and support our ambulance service. We are determined to have an emergency service that can serve the people spread around our rural county. We may need continued assistance to provide timely and quality ambulance services.”

Greene County EMS ambulance services to continue

At a special called meeting of the Board of the Greene County Emergency Medical Service on Monday, May 23, 2022, Board Chair Joe Lee Powell announced, “ We are committed to keep the ambulance service open and running for the people of Greene County. We will work with the County Commission, municipalities, major employers and anyone else who wants to work with us to maintain and improve the service.”

Powell also announced the resignation of acting director Zack Bolding from his position and the appointment of Chris Jones, as Acting Supervisor of the GCEMS. Jones is an advanced EMT on the staff, which will allow the service to retain its ALS-1 rating and provide full services.

Dr. Marcia Pugh, CEO of the Greene County Health System, who is Vice-Chair of the ambulance board, said that Bolding had never been authorized to send a letter to the state Office of EMS, dated May 16, 2022, that said the Greene County EMS was scheduled to suspend operations, effective May 20, 2022 at 1800 hours. This information was broadcast over many local TV stations.

“We did not suspend operations last Friday and we are still operating now,” said Powell. He indicated that the Board had support to make payroll for staff on that date but that Bolding had not submitted the employee data necessary to make the payroll.

Bolding presented Powell with bank statements from the EMS operating account in Merchants and Farmers Bank but he whited out all the payees on the checks to make them worthless as records for any kind of investigation or audit. “We will have to get another set of records from the bank, to get the information we need,” said Powell.

This incident highlights a problem facing the Board for the past two years since Bennie Abrams and Stanley Lucious retired from the GCEMS. All monies earned by the system from ambulance services go into the operating account which was not controlled by the Board. Abrams. Lucious and others controlled and signed on this checking account. The Board tried to get control of this account but were blocked by the bank due a disagreement over the Federal EIN number used to establish the account.

The GCEMS Board opened a separate account to deposit and spend funds they raised to support the operations and purchase of new equipment for the system. The staff directors, first Nick Wilson and then Zack Bolding, did not assist the Board in unifying the funding control of the service. Because of this divide, it has been difficult for the Board to establish financial direction and control of the service. The Board had difficulty in answering financial operating questions about the services to agencies, like the Greene County Commission and various municipalities, like Forkland, Union, Boligee and Eutaw that wanted to help.

“Hopefully we will be able to correct these and other problems affecting the system, now that we have a new director and some better grasp of our finances,” said Dr. Pugh.

Powell announced that the GCEMS Board has received new donations from various sources including $5,000 from WestRock, $1,000 from the First Responders Committee of Greene County, $10,000 from TSP Support League, to add to $50,000 from the Sheriff’s bingo discretionary fund, $30,000 from Greenetrack, $5,000 from the Town of Boligee and other donations previously reported. Some of these funds are for general operations and other funds are for specific equipment needs. The County Commission has agreed to fund a $100,000 retrofit of an ambulance box on a new truck chassis, which is planned for this summer. The City of Eutaw purchased major life-saving equipment for the service in the past year.

The GCEMS Board will be meeting with the Greene County Commission on June 1, in their scheduled work session, to discuss future operating support for the ambulance system. The Commission and municipalities are expecting a second injection of funding from the American Rescue Plan, which can be used to help with the ambulance service and other pressing problems.

The City of Eutaw is planning a benefit basketball tournament, this weekend at the old Carver Gym to benefit the ambulance service.

“We are developing an immediate crisis plan to keep the service going while we make a longer-range plan for its continuing operation and survival,” said Powell.

Greene County Commission considers financial and road improvement projects

At its first regular meeting of the calendar year, on Monday January 10, 2022, the Greene County Commission dealt with financial matters and approved plans by the County Engineer for road repair projects.

The Commission authorized Willie Branch, the County Engineer, in consultation with Mac Underwood, the CFO, to proceed with road projects not to exceed $990,000 for Fiscal Year 2022. This will allow repair of County Roads 60, 117 and 18 in various parts of the county.

The funds authorized include $557,123 in funding, already in hand from the Rebuild Alabama/Federal Exchange Program and an advance of $440,000 from electronic bingo funds, to be repaid from future Rebuild Alabama funding, which is expected in the coming years.

The Commission also approved spending $500,000 from electronic bingo funds for patching and leveling roads in the county in need of these repairs. The County Engineer will provide a list of these projects in future meetings.

The Commission also approved also approved the FY2021 Annual Report to the Rebuild Alabama Program detailing the work that was done with state funding last year. Also approved was advertising for two needed Highway Department positions, one full time and one temporary worker for the Solid Waste section.

The Commission appointed a bond insurance team to refund outstanding 2007 warrants to build the County Jail facility. There is $2,775,000 in financing at 4.61% interest to be refinanced. At the Commission Work Session on January 5, Walter Lewis representing the Piper-Sandler investment banking company said he was seeking to refinance the outstanding bonds at a lower interest rate between 2.44 and 2.49%, for an additional 8.6 year term, which would save the Greene County between $569,000 and $599,000 in interest over the remaining time period.

The Commission approved a resolution, designating a team with Underwriters: Piper/Sandler; Bond Counsel: Butler and Snow; and Issues Counsel: Parnell and Thompson to work with Mac Underwood, CFO< to provide a proposal for the refinancing of these bonds.

Mac Underwood, CFO, gave the financial report as of the end of the first quarter of the FY 2021-22 showing that most agencies, including the County General Fund, had spent 25% or less of their budgeted funds, leaving 78% of the budget remaining. Underwood reported that there was $5,821,482 in Citizens Trust Bank as of December 21, 2021; there was $10,850,868 in Merchants and Farmers; with $1,102,438 in Bond Sinki9ng Funds. There is $787,734 in American Rescue Plan Act funds in Citizens Federal with $420,374 allocated leaving a balance of $367,359. The Commission authorized payment of all claims for the month of January.

The Commission heard a report from Dr. Marcia Pugh, CEO of the Greene County Health System on the impact of the coronavirus in Greene County. She indicated that there were no reported cases of the omicron variant among residents of the Greene County Nursing Home, who are vaccinated and tested on a weekly basis due to the high rates of positive testing in the county and throughout the state. Dr. Pugh emphasized the need for all people, above the age of 5, to get vaccinated and boosted to prevent serious disease and hospitalization.

In other business, the Commission:

• Tabled consideration of settlement of a dispute with Greenetrack, for payment of lease funds for use of the facility, which is partially owned by the County.

• Approved advertising for a person to sit at the front door of the Courthouse and screen visitors for coronavirus and direct them to the proper offices for their business.

• Approved travel for the County Engineer to a conference in Montgomery on February 9 and 10 dealing with transportation.

Ribbon Cutting for Home Health Care Services at Greene County Health Services

Friday, December 3, 2021, a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony was held for Mercy & Grace Home Health Care Service to be housed at the Greene County Physician Clinic, a part of the Greene County Health System (GCHS).

Dr. Marcia Pugh, CEO of Greene County Health System, welcomed the Mercy & Grace Home Health program, as part of the GCHS. “We had been planning to revive this service and we are now able to do this under an agreement with Mercy and Grace to provide these needed services which are part of the healing process for our patients, “said Pugh.

Carrie Logan, President of the Eutaw Area Chamber of Commerce, was on hand to deliver words of welcome, for a new business.

Janie Williams, CEO/NLP /CFO, stated, “We are here to service the Black Belt area including Greene, Sumter, Perry, Bibb, Hale, Fayette, Pickens and Tuscaloosa. We were founded for the purpose of providing professional, reliable home health services to West Alabama. Our goal is to make sure families always have a reliable option for at- home nursing and personal support.” 

    Williams explained that when faced with illness, it’s not surprising that a majority of patients would much rather receive care at home. No matter the circumstances that may require home health care, whether it is a recent diagnosis, ongoing therapy or physical rehabilitation, or a declining medical condition, being at home, surrounded by family, is a benefit to not only the client, but the family caregiver as well. 

    Home Health Care Services include experienced help around the home to improve safety, health, comfort, and convenience, meal preparation, cleaning, laundry, making beds, dishes, changing light bulbs and taking out the trash and other home services our clients want. Personal aides provide health-related personal assistance. They are qualified to provide hands on care.

    Other Home Health Care Services provided by Mercy & Grace may include the following:
•Medication reminders, •Adherence to health-related diets such as a diabetes diet, •health monitoring, •Skin care, •Mobility assistance, •bathing assistance, •dressing, grooming and feeding. 
•Personal attendants for socialization, mental alertness, supervision, and safety.
•Help with remotes, help with communication such as getting the mail, writing letters, email, and social media, computers and other devices. 
•Help with hobbies such as scrapbooking, collections, indoor plants, journals, etc.
•Supervision when there is a chance of wandering or self-injury,
• Private Duty Nursing, Skilled Medical care from a nurse giving you personal attention in the comfort of home.
•Medication reconciliation and medication management. •Giving shots and other medication administration, •home infusion nursing, •wound care such as for pressure ulcers, • observation and assessment, •post-surgical care.
•Assistance away from Home – running errands and shopping for clients. 
•Aides accompany clients during outings to make sure everything goes smoothly. 
*Nurses can accompany clients to doctor’s visits to help make sure important information is received, communicated to family members as per client wishes, and followed up on. 
•We even provide personal attendant services for clients in the hospital or nursing home. 

If you wish to use the services of Mercy & Grace Home Health, you must advise your doctor that
You are requesting their services. Mercy & Grace, Inc. will be ready to help. For additional information you can contact them at: 205-737-7744.

Hospital dedicates imaging suite for Dr. Sandral Hullett, retired medical director

Dr. Marcia Pugh, GCHS Adminstration with Dr. Sandral Hullett (seated) and Strelitzia King, niece, Amberley Smith, niece and Gloria Hullett sister of Dr. Hullett, beneath new plaque naming the imaging suite for Dr. Hullett
Dr. Sandral Hullett and family members cut ribbon on new
imaging center suite.
Dr. Marcia Pugh (L) and John Zippert, GCHS Board chair stand with plaque honoring Zippert, which will be place in Physician Clinic Conference Room named to honor him for his service to the  GCHS.
Dr. and Mrs. Rucker Staggers, former doctor and nurse at the hospital stand with Dr. Sandral Hullett, their medical colleague for many years.

On Sunday afternoon, November 21, 2021, the Greene County Health System held a ceremony to name and dedicate the new imaging wing of the Greene County Hospital in honor of Dr. Sandral Hullett, retired medical director of the facility.

The imaging suite includes the new X-ray room, a new 16 slice CT scanner, an ultrasound room and related office and patient spaces. An older 4 slice CT scanner, was located in a trailer behind the hospital building. This has been replaced by a new and more modern machine, inside the facility.

A plaque on the wall recognizing Dr. Hullett for her service and assistance to rural health care in the Alabama Black Belt was unveiled by Dr. Hullett and members of her family.

Dr. Marcia Pugh, GCHS Administrator thanked Dr. Hullett for her years of dedicated service to the people of Greene County. “We are especially happy that we were able to upgrade and bring the CT scanner inside. We will no longer have to bring our patients out the back door to a trailer in inclement weather. The X-ray and ultrasound equipment have been similarly upgraded. We have also improved our Emergency Room facilities and equipment.

“We encourage Greene County residents to visit our GCHS facilities and see the many improvements for themselves. We want the residents of Greene County to have quality and affordable health care, without having to travel to other out-of-town facilities, unless they need specialized care that we cannot provide. Because of the coronavirus, we had to limit participation in this ceremony, but we want people to know about and use our improved facilities, when you need them.” stated Dr. Pugh.

As part of the ceremony, the hospital also unveiled another plaque to honor John Zippert, Chairperson of the Board of Directors, to be placed in the Conference Room of the Greene County Physician’s Clinic, which was named for Zippert, several years ago.

Vaccine available for frontline health workers in Greene County; other groups remain to be scheduled based on supplies

Dr. Salahuddin Farooqui, MD shown get the vaccine.
Dr. Michael Gordon, MD receiving vaccine
Hospital staff getting shot vaccine

Last Wednesday, December 30, 2020, fourteen frontline healthcare workers at the Greene County Health System received their first dose of coronavirus vaccine at the Alabama Department of Public Health.
Dr. Salahuddin Farooqui, MD and Dr. Michael Gordon, MD were among those vaccinated in the first group. Dr. Farooqui said, “I was glad to get the shot and I am urging all others in Greene County to get vaccinated when your group is called.”
The Alabama Department of Public Health is returning to Greene County on January 6 from 1:00 to 3:00 PM and January 13 from 8:45 to 10:45 AM to provide additional coronavirus vaccinations. Healthcare workers, including EMT and other support workers should call 205-562-6952 to schedule an appointment.
Dr. Marcia Pugh said that she is expecting the residents of the Greene County Nursing Home to be vaccinated next. “We have been doing the required paperwork and getting signed approval from sponsors to vaccinate the residents of our nursing home. Their vaccines are coming through Walgreen/Pharmerica and should be scheduled soon.”
As to the next group which includes people over 75, educators and essential workers, Reagan Pettus, RN, West Central District Public Health Nurse, sent an email to Dr. Pugh advising, “We are still in phase 1a of our allocation plan which includes high risk personnel, such as frontline workers.
We have not received guidance as to when we may move to phase 1b which includes persons > 75 years, essential workers at high risk (such as teachers), and those who live in congregate settings.”
In her email, Pettus further stated, “Those who have no health problems and are not in high exposure groups will not be able to receive the vaccine until we move into Phase 2, which could be several months from now.
Alabama like many other states have been slow to receive ample supplies of the vaccines to vaccinate all the people who want to be served. Government officials say the supplies of vaccines are projected to increase in the coming months.
This news comes at the same time as Alabama and the nation are reaching record high levels of new confirmed cases, hospitalizations and deaths from the virus. Over 350,000 people nationally have died from the virus since the beginning of the pandemic in February 2020.
Monday in Alabama hospitalizations reached 3,064, which was the first time they were over 3,000 during the pandemic. Public health officials expect continuing high rates of disease, coming from the Christmas and New Year’s holidays. It will be several months, before the impact of vaccinations will reduce the spread of the coronavirus.
Public health officials are warning that people must continue to wear masks, socially distance, not participate in large indoor gathers and wash hands regularly to defeat the spread of corona virus.
More information on cases in Alabama and Greene County are in our weekly summary box on the coronavirus impacts on page 1.

Vaccine scarcity limits dispersal in Alabama Healthcare workers say vaccine is safe and urge everyone to take it

Mayor of Eutaw, Latosha Johnson and Dr. Rachel Zippert Chatters

All healthcare workers we have seen and spoken with urge everyone to take the coronavirus vaccine because it is safe and effective.
We have the pictures of two healthcare workers from Greene County: Mayor of Eutaw, Latosha Johnson, who is a nurse and received her shot yesterday at Whitfield Hospital in Demopolis where she works and Dr. Rachel Zippert Chatters, a pediatrician in Lake Charles, Louisiana, daughter of the publishers, who grew up in Greene County and graduated from Eutaw High School as valedictorian in 1987, also received the shot this week.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of infectious diseases at the NIH, Dr. Francis Collins, head of NIH, President-elect Joe Biden and Vice- President Mike Pence have all been seen taking the shot on television in recent days. They have all urged everyone to get vaccinated as soon as the precious vaccine reaches them.
In a press release today, Dr. Scott Harris, of the Alabama Department of Public Health warns, “The overriding issue at present is the scarcity of vaccine. We realize that there are many people at increased risk of exposure to the virus who are not yet able to receive immunization. As the supply of vaccine remains limited, we continue to urge the public to practice the measures needed to help reduce the transmission of COVID-19.”
The ADPH says, “We are in the first phase of vaccination, Phase 1a, the critical infrastructure workforce is identified as frontline health workers, including clinical and nonclinical workers in hospitals, nursing homes or those providing in-home or mental health care directly, and emergency medical service (EMS) providers. Various phase levels are based on risk exposure, and Alabama is currently in Phase 1a. The population that falls into this first phase is more than 300,000 Alabamians, but thus far we have received an allocation only 84,300 of the Moderna vaccine.” The State also received an initial allocation of 29,250 doses of the Pfizer vaccine, which requires ultra-cold storage conditions.
During the Phase 1a. vaccination period, the administering hospital is required to use 50 percent for hospital healthcare workers, 15 percent for EMS providers, 15 percent for physician offices, and 20 percent for other hospital staff/healthcare workers not associated with the point of distribution. Residents of long-term care will be vaccinated through the Federal Pharmacy Program in cooperation with large chain pharmacies.
Dr. Marcia Pugh, CEO and Administrator of the Greene County Health System, told the GCHS Board of Directors in its recent meeting, that she has participated in zoom meetings and conference calls with the ADPH and the Alabama Hospital Association and GCHS will soon get doses of the Moderna vaccine for hospital workers and local health care and EMS workers in Greene County. No definite date has yet been given for when the vaccine will get to Greene County.
“Once the vaccine gets to Greene County, we will have to educate people on the importance of taking it when their time comes to take it,” said Eutaw Mayor Latasha Johnson. “Many Black people are skeptical about the vaccine because of the Tuskegee project in the 1930’s and 40’s and the treatment of Black people as guinea pigs for Federal health experiments,” she said.
Houston Astros manager Dusty Baker, an African American, also urged Black people to get vaccinated. Baker praised Meharry Medical College President Dr. James Hildreth, one of the world’s leading immunologists and an African American who sat on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s panel that approved the rollout of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine.
“There was an African American doctor that was in charge of the vaccine,” Baker said during a video call. “I felt more comfortable that he and other African Americans were on the boards to come up with the vaccine. And he guaranteed that it wouldn’t be another Tuskegee kind of experiment. And he urged Black Americans to use the vaccine.”
Because of the Tuskegee experiment, the notorious 40-year study that began in 1932, where U.S. Public Health officials misled African Americans about their health status. The study’s participants were infected with syphilis, and health officials withheld treatment like penicillin, leaving some to die.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s foremost infectious disease physician, also championed the work of Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett, an African American scientist, whom Dr. Fauci said was at the forefront of the development of the vaccine.
“So, the first thing you might want to say to my African American brothers and sisters is that the vaccine that you’re going to be taking was developed by an African American woman. And that is just a fact,” Dr. Fauci remarked.
More than 300,000 Americans have died, and nearly 17 million have contracted the coronavirus. Some reports indicate that as many as 25 percent of COVID-19 victims are African American. However, that hasn’t stopped the skepticism about the vaccine among many Black people.
Alabama residents should exercise caution by postponing travel and avoiding gatherings during the holidays.
· Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds
·  Social distance by staying 6 feet away from others
·Avoid people who are sick
·Stay home if you can; work remotely if possible
· Cover your mouth and nose with a face covering when around others
·  Cover coughs and sneezes
·  Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces
·  Monitor your health
Once additional quantities of vaccine are available, ADPH will provide information about how the public can go about getting vaccinated.
For additional information, go to

Greene County Commission holds special meeting on status of the ambulance service

Nick Wilson Chief of EMS with ambulance

By: John Zippert,

On Thursday, November 12th, the Greene County Commission held a special meeting to consider concerns with the operation and governance of the Greene County Ambulance Service.
The meeting was called to respond to concerns raised by Dr. Marcia Pugh, CEO of the Hospital, who was appointed to represent the Commission on the Board of Directors of the Ambulance Service. In an earlier Commission work session, Dr. Pugh voiced concerns over the fact that the Board of the Ambulance Service was not holding regular meetings, not having financial reports, and generally operating in an unaccountable manner.
The Ambulance Service director moved its operational office from the Eutaw City Hall to the former Warrior Academy building without consultation and approval by the its Board of Directors. Members of the County Commission, including new Chair Roshonda Summerville, members Lester Brown and Corey Cockrell also said they were unaware that the Ambulance Service had moved from City Hall.
Louis Jines, Chair of the Ambulance Board explained that the Board of Directors had not been meeting because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Commissioner Cockrel asked, “has the Board considered virtual meetings by phone or zoom”. Jines answered that the Internet service in his home area near Forkland was inadequate for virtual meetings.
Walter Staples, a military veteran serving on the Ambulance Board said, “Since I have been on the Board our role was to maintain the vehicles and medical supplies. We don’t have enough money coming in to require a budget.”
Dr. Pugh also indicated that the Ambulance Service had not picked up a patient recently from the Nursing Home who needed to be transported to Tuscaloosa for medical testing.
Nick Wilson, Director of the Ambulance Service said he was overwhelmed with other cases that day and was not able to pick up the person because it was not an emergency call. Wilson also questioned whether it was appropriate to air these complaints in a Greene County Commission meeting.
Commissioner Brown said the Commission would likely be sued if there was a serious problem and someone decided to sue the Ambulance Service.” Your board must meet, function and make decisions, follow your by-laws and act legally to avoid bringing complaints and lawsuits against the Ambulance Service and County Commission,” explained Brown.
Dr. Pugh said, “This is why the board needs to meet, review finances and policies and resolve problems before they are brought to the County Commission.”
Nick Martin and deputy chief, Zack Bolding, expressed some frustration with the process. “The County Commission gives the Ambulance Service only $28,000 toward our budget. We have had to raise money from other sources and private donors. In the 15 months that I have been director, no one from the County Commission has come to visit us at City Hall or Warrior Academy,” said Wilson.
Commission Brown said, “If you hold Board meetings, like your by-laws require and you invite us, we will come. Two of us can come at a time. We invited you to a budget meeting and a working session to discuss the problems but you did not come.”
The Commission’s counsel, Attorney Hank Sanders referred the Ambulance Board to its by-laws, “You have two members appointed by the Chair of the Commission, two members appointed by the City of Eutaw, and one each from the Towns of Forkland, Boligee and Union. All these political entities just had elections and the Mayors and the Commission Chair have the right to name your Board members. You need to check with them, get your board appointments and reorganize and operate properly under your by-laws.”
Attorney Sanders further advised that, “Your by-laws provide for the Ambulance Board to make an annual report to the Commission and the public, at the end of each fiscal year, on your contracts, leases, association memberships, finances, capital and operating budgets; major activities; compliance with local, state and federal regulations; and a statement of goals and objectives for the next year.”
The special meeting ended on a note of unity that the Ambulance Board would meet, reconstitute itself, discuss problems and plans and report back to the Commission and municipal entities with a clearer picture of its goals and needs for the future.

Local Referendum No.1 for property tax to support the Greene County Hospital and Health System will be on the November 3rd ballot

Probate Judge Rolanda Wedgeworth confirmed to the Greene County Democrat on Friday, that there will be a Local Referendum No. 1 on the November 3, 2020 ballot to raise ad valorem property tax in Greene County by 4 mills to benefit the Greene County Hospital.
John Zippert, Chairperson of the Greene County Hospital Board said, “We must pass this tax to support the hospital if we want to keep our hospital open and modernize and improve the services available from the hospital. In times of a global pandemic of coronavirus the need for a local hospital and related health facilities is clear.”
Dr. Marcia Pugh, GCHS Administrator and CEO said, “Our financial reports show that the Greene County Health System has provided $100,000 a month in uncompensated care for Greene County residents. Funds from electronic bingo have helped to pay part of this but we are still going into debt each month to keep the hospital open.”
She continued, “Our physical plant was built in 1961, 60 years ago. Since I have been Administrator, we have had to replace physical systems, like our sewage pipes, telephone system, computer systems, laundry machines, and other necessary services. We have upgraded our laboratory, X-ray machine, emergency room area and we are planning to improve our MRI and other imaging services. Some of this new tax money will go to modernize and improve our facilities and medical services.”
This Local Referendum No.1 and six Statewide Amendments will be on the ballot for November 3, 2020 if you vote absentee or at the polls.
“A 4 mil increase in taxes amounts to $4.00 per $1,000 of assessed valuation of property in Greene County. This is a small price to pay for a 24/7 emergency room, staffed by physicians, comfortable hospital rooms, laboratory, X-ray, up-to-date imagining, compassionate skilled nursing, and many other services,” said Zippert.
Based on current valuations of property in Greene County, one mil of property tax will generate $160,000 in revenues, so passage of this referendum would provide $640,000 in needed revenues, each year, for the Greene County Hospital, beginning in 2022.
Local Referendum No. 1 states: “The Greene County Commission resolved that, pursuant to Constitutional Amendment 76 (Sec.215.02) of the Official Recompilation of the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, the issue of a four (4) mil special county tax on each dollar of taxable property in Greene County for the construction, operation, equipping and maintenance of the public or nonprofit hospital facilities of the Greene County Health System shall be submitted to the electors of Greene County, Alabama on the November 3, 2020 General Election. If a majority o0f qualified electors participating in the election shall vote in favor of the referendum, then the said taxes shall be levied and collected and provided to the Greene County Health System.” The Greene County Democrat will include more information on this referendum in future issues. We also welcome your opinions, please write us Letters to the Editor on this tax referendum.

Alabama records 6,750 cases of coronavirus with 242 deaths; Greene Co. has 47 cases and one death

Mobile Health Unit from Maude Whatley Health Center conducts Coronavirus testing on Greene County Courthouse Square on Tuesday, April 29, 2020.
Eutaw Police Chief, Derick Coleman, presents a Teddy Bear toy to a small child as consolation to calm her just before COVID-19 test was administered on Tuesday.

As of 9:00 AM on April 29, 2020, the New York Times compilation of coronavirus data shows 6,750 confirmed cases in Alabama with 242 deaths. In Greene County there are 47 confirmed cases with one death.
74,000 people in Alabama have been tested for the virus, which is 1.4 per cent of the total population of the state that has been tested.
Maude Whatley Health Services from Tuscaloosa had a mobile unit at the Courthouse Square in Eutaw on Tuesday and tested 70 more Greene County residents.
A chart from the New York Times data center shows that Alabama is still experiencing 200 new cases per day down from highs of 300 per day earlier in the month.
Nationally the United States has over a million cases with over 58,000 deaths, in three months, more than the total number of people killed in the Vietnam War, which lasted a decade.
Some states have begun to relax economic and business closures. In Georgia, the Governor has agreed to open personal care businesses, like barbershops, retail stores and restaurants, with some social distancing regulations.
Governor Kay Ivey issued a “Safer at Home” order allowing retail establishments to open with a maximum capacity of 50% with physical distancing and regular sanitation by end of this week. She also reopened Alabama’s Gulf Coast beaches and allows for drive church services, funerals and other gatherings. Restaurants and personal service businesses will be closed for another 15 days with the exception of drive-through and take-out food services.
Meetings of people are limited to ten and must abide by social distancing. For Greene County, officials met and put out an informational briefing urging people to abide by CDC and ADPH regulations.
The information brief contains this warning, “There is mutual agreement between county law enforcement and city law enforcement to assist each other in all matters relating to coronavirus. Going forward, any gathering exceeding the emergency mandates of 10 persons will be issued citations that may result in fines and/or possible jail time.”
Greene County
Nursing Home
Dr. Marcia Pugh, CEO and Administrator of the Greene County Health System indicated that they were able to test all residents of the Greene County Nursing Home for the virus. The Democrat has learned that half of the residents have tested positive for the virus but most of these were asymptomatic, showing no symptoms of the virus.
Eight (8) positive Nursing Home residents have been transferred to other hospitals for treatment because of their underlying heath conditions. One transferred resident has died. The Nursing Home is expecting many of its transferred patients to be returned once they have recovered.
In her statement, Dr. Pugh indicated, “Like most of the Nursing Homes throughout the state, the Greene County Nursing Home is having its share of residents and staff that are fighting COVID.
Guidelines are being received daily from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Alabama Department of Health (ADPH). Our Administrative staff and Infection Prevention are being diligent in keeping up with the daily changes. We are actively participating in the routine statewide update calls.
We appreciate the donated supplies from all over the state that are assisting us in the fight against COVID. The Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) consisting of Tyvek suits, face shields, masks, shoe covers, and bonnets are used daily by our staff. Our health care team are all truly heroes in this battle.”
Dr. Pugh also stated that the Alabama National Guard was sending a team a clean and sanitize the entire facility –hospital, nursing home and physician’s clinic – on Thursday, April 30, 2020 to enhance the effectiveness of the system to withstand the virus.